Africa

The Ensemble seeks to connect and inform all people who are committed to ensemble music education for youth empowerment and social change.

“I Can and I Will”: Making Beautiful Music at Open Air School

03-03-2021

The Open Air School in Durban, South Africa is a long-standing institution offering education to learners who have physical impairments, from pre-primary through grade 12. Their motto, “I can and I will,” is how I have come to know each child I meet at the school. Nothing is beyond their reach or capability.

A Musical and Communal Journey in Lesotho and South Africa

01-06-2021

The story of music education as a catalyst for social change in South Africa and Lesotho is long and complicated. The history of human struggle and social unrest in southern Africa is well documented, but it gave birth to a new era of growth and potential for its people. One might say that in the wake of South Africa’s newfound freedom from Apartheid, democracy opened many doors to Black South Africans. Within that greater context, I share my own musical journey as a snapshot of three decades of music, equity, and opportunity in South Africa and Lesotho.

Rwanda Youth Music Brings Back the Rhythm in December Concert

12-16-2020

The Rwanda Youth Music program shared a performance video to celebrate the lifting of certain COVID restrictions and the renewal of in-person rehearsals and concerts. On Sunday, December 13, three “energy-boosting bands,” Unit, Legend, and Fire Voice, performed for this online concert. Check out the replay of this celebratory event on their Facebook page.

The Morris Isaacson Centre for Music: Grounding the Basics in Students’ Cultural Identities

12-02-2020

The Morris Isaacson Centre for Music in Soweto, South Africa provides music education to almost 300 students. Driving human development through music, we hold Early Childhood Development classes at local partner institutions, and also provide a comprehensive on-site program of music tuition through individual lessons, ensembles, music theory classes, and choirs to develop musicianship.

The International School of Music, Languages and Polytechnic Studies: A Longtime Dream Becomes Reality

11-12-2020

Music can unite the world, produce unity and harmony in the community, and offer social and financial assurance. Having grown up humbly myself, I began dreaming in 2011 of starting an academic institution and cultural center for the young generation in my home area of Masaka, Uganda. That dream became the International School of Music, Languages and Polytechnic Studies (IMLS), located in the city of Masaka, near Lake Victoria.

Government Support Is Essential, Especially Right Now

10-07-2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply affected many economic sectors across the world—none more so than the cultural and creative industries. Cultural heritage infrastructures, museums, libraries, galleries, cinemas, and arts education institutions have been locked down. Shows, exhibitions, fairs, cultural tourism, and international exchange opportunities for artists have been canceled. Millions of artists have lost their jobs, and people everywhere have lost access to cultural life. Less visible but equally important are the millions more whose jobs depend on the work of artists.

Saved by Music Foundation: Restoring Hope and Building Trust

10-07-2020

Saved by Music Foundation is a community-based non-governmental organization located in Mbale, a city in eastern Uganda. As a former street child who was saved from the streets by music, I started the organization in 2009. Children face many challenges in our community—extreme poverty, child abuse, drug abuse, child pregnancies and marriages, lack of access to education and housing, and so much more. As a result, many children become hopeless. It is easy to fall victim to the streets, where many start using drugs or join criminal gangs, putting their lives on the line while becoming dangers to the community. It was in these circumstances that I decided to do something to help restore hope among children and youth like me.

Ghetto Classics Update

09-02-2020

It has been such a hard time for the art industry to be running its usual activities all over the world since the coronavirus outbreak.

The Rainbow Academy: Warriors of the Rainbow Nation, South Africa

09-02-2020

The year 2010 was very significant in South Africa. During that 16th year of our country’s free and democratic reign, we hosted the first-ever World Cup Soccer Tournament on the African continent. It was perhaps our most prominent spotlight on the world stage since 1994, when South Africans rebelled against the brutal and systematic rule of legalized segregation and white supremacy called “Apartheid.” The 2010 World Cup felt like something of an announcement—a renewed celebration of our many cultures, communities, and opportunities. Amidst that backdrop of hope and justice, The Rainbow Academy was born in Cape Town.

Bugandan Traditions – Amagunjju

09-02-2020

Once upon a time, a king of Buganda died. When his heir was born, the baby’s uncle Gunjju created a dance to keep the young monarch constantly happy, as a crying king is said to bring bad luck. Today, the dance, now called the amagunjju, is performed on various occasions such as weddings, birthday parties, introduction ceremonies, and many others.

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